Saturday, January 30, 2010

Suzee's Goddess Potatoes

These crispy delights have been a specialty I've shared for a number of years. I started making them in college when friends came over for brunch, or to serve with a great grilled steak. They are simple and delicious, and everyone (except my friend Ann's husband Mike) loves them. Mike's not a fan of tarragon like me :)

Slice up 6 potatoes, skins on
Roll the potatoes in 1 to 1.5 Tb olive oil
Sprinkle liberally with sea salt, garlic powder and tarragon
Roast at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour.
Sprinkle with more sea salt, serve and enjoy!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Beef and Bean Stuffed Poblanos

Beef and Bean stuffed Poblanos with Cheese - oh my these were quite amazing tonight :) These peppers are a warm wrap around the tongue, and a delicious one as well. After I blackened the skins of the peppers directly on my gas burners, I put them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. After they sat for 25 minutes or so, I slipped the skins off the peppers, and cut out the seed pod inside. I left the stem caps on as they look pretty and hold the pepper together.
I mixed 1 cup of low fat cottage cheese with a 1/2 cup of cheese shreds (a mixture of cheddar and jack cheeses) and an xl egg. I put this mixture in my blender (while I really missed my food processor which I would have used if I'd had it), and after working at it a bit, I blended the cheese mixture smooth.
I browned a pound of low fat ground beef, and mixed it with a packet of McCormicks Hot Beef Taco seasoning (yum!).
And the last part of the stuffing was a can of refried beans, heated with water.
I could have stuffed 6 large peppers - I wish I'd been able to get that many because this dish took about an hour to prepare, and if I'd done 6 or 8 peppers, it wouldn't have taken too much longer. And they reheat like a dream! In the peppers I first layered the beans, then the beef and finally the cheese mixture. I topped them all with additional cheese shreds.
Since I didn't have more peppers, I made a 3 layer dip with the remaining ingredients - that will reheat well too!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Water Club - The NYC Exerience!

I had the most wonderful dining experience tonight! I made reservations for tonight a couple weeks ago when I found out this was restaurant week. In NYC restaurant week means anybody can go for a wonderful 3 course dinner for $35 per person. Time to be on the look out!
I logged into Open Table to find out which restaurants were participating, and which were close to us.
I looked at the menu and made the reservation, and promptly forgot what was on the menu. I like a surprise - so sue me!
Rick took a cab from Grand Central and picked me up at 36th and Lex. We went over to the Water Club - the cabbie knew exactly where it was. There was a coat check at the entrance, and we went in to the bar. There were a couple of easy chairs and an a couch near the fireplace (if you have a choice, face toward the bar - the chairs with their backs to the bar have a lot of traffic and cold air behind them). The fireplace was warm and romantic, even if the bar was  a little too light. We enjoyed cocktails by the fire and chatted about our day. Next we moved to the dining room - a gorgeous spot with a beautiful view over the east river of Long Island City and the Queensboro Bridge. We had a table facing the river and had a glass of wine while we perused the menu.
We looked over everything, and decided to stick with the prix fixe menu - and why wouldn't we? The Appetizers were Lobster Bisque, Chopped Green Salad or Lobster Salad. Entrees were either 1.25 lb steamed or boiled lobster, Beef Short Rib or  Broiled Salmon. And dessert was key lime pie, chocolate layer cake or creme caramel. Hello??? What a fabulous menu!!!
Rick and I both ordered the lobster salad appetizer - it was served on thin slices of tomato and cucumber, and surrounded with sprouts. It was De Lish! It was probably a day old lobster used in the salad, but serving it on the tomato and cucumber slices made it taste fresh as an hour ago. It was excellent.
For dinner I ordered the lobster. I was surprised and pleased when the waiter cracked my lobster tableside. Rick ordered the beef shortrib - a large hunk of meat - braised with some fat, which he enjoyed more than the fish entrees. I tasted it, and it was much tastier than the wine bar dinner he had not too long ago. My entree came with O'Keefe mashed potatoes - the perfect amount for 2. For dessert Rick chose the key lime pie - it was very lime-y. I ordered the creme caramel, and it was just a fabulous, creamy sweet wonderous end to the meal ;) Guess which one I liked better :)
I'd never heard of the Water Club prior to visiting. It has a summer deck that I'm looking forward to trying. We spent $25 on taxis, and the total dinner, drinks (plus the pre-dinner drink in the bar) came up to about $175. Cheaper than the Steakhouses within walking distance to the apartment, but not as cheap as the southern food place around the corner (Dukes) with spotty service.
Bottom line - I felt like a real NY'er at the water club - the view was gorgeous, and the bar was comfy. I'm looking forward to going again!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fabulous Firehouse Pizza

Rick and I have ordered many times from Firehouse Pizza. The guy who answers the phone is always upbeat, speaks clearly, and makes you think someone cares about your food. Delivery is always timely, and only once did we get a different order. Based on the number of times we've ordered, and the quality of the food, I'm willing to overlook that one problem. Actually, I didn't even bother to let them know.

We have ordered almost every kind of pizza they offer (ok - many), and we realized lately that the menu is changing. We ordered 2 small pies so that we could try more flavors! Rick ordered the Taco pizza a number of times (this one is fabulous, but not great the morning after - you have to take off the avacado and lettuce), and meatlovers a bunch of times too (yum!!). We've also tried Old World (one of my fave's!!), buffalo chicken (I liked this one a lot, Rick didn't care for the bleu cheese), BBQ Pizza (really nice spicy sweet bbq sauce, and the chicken is never dried out), chicken and spinach (I asked for a touch more garlic sauce on this one - oh yum!), and Aloha (a type of hawaiian but has both bacon and ham - yummmmm:). I had a couple that were fine that I wouldn't order again - mac and cheese pie - too bland - I only ordered it because I was interested in a carb fest, and lasagne pizza (too soupy -would have been fabulous as a calzone though!)
After all this you may ask - why haven't you blogged about this great Murray Hill haunt? It's been on my list, but today at lunch I realized I just had to spread the word. Last night Rick ordered Lasagne (the pasta not the pie). I had some left overs for lunch. OMG. Wow. I will not be making lasagne again in NYC. This is the best lasagne ever. Try it!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Blooms Brunch - Blah

Blooms is a clean and bright deli convenient to Grand Central right on Lex. Rick had been wanting some pancakes, and he had been wanting to try Bloom's Cafe, so this morning I suggested we make our way over for brunch.

I think brunch is not their forte.

Rick ordered the lumberjack breakfast - 2 eggs over medium with sausage and pancakes. He was disappointed in the sausage - it was more of an irish beef sausage than an american breakfast sausage. Seems this is what is served most places we've tried for breakfast here in NYC. He liked the pancakes - he said they didn't have that "bisquick flavor" which he liked. I don't like pancakes myself, so I ordered the monte cristo - an open faced sandwich made on challah french toast with honey ham, turkey and swiss. When my dish was placed in front of me, it was not attractive. It looked like a glob of cheese and french toast on the side. When I tasted it, it was interesting. One of the reasons I selected the monte cristo is that I'd never had one before. I don't think I'll order it again, but it was an experiment :) I would have had eggs benedict if it was on the menu, but it wasn't.

If Rick and I came here again, we'd probably order delivery - one of the deli sandwiches - they are what you see at most NYC delis - sandwiches too tall to put in your mouth. Either that or the burger. They stop delivery at 8:30 pm, so we probably won't be eating here again. It did seem like a nice family place if you like deli's.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Honesty Award - Thanks!

My new friend at Fight the Fat Foodie (aka Scott) awarded my blog this honesty award! I like to think that my posts are transparent to my new life here in Manhattan, and this helps to validate that :)

Accepting the reward requires me to tell you 10 honest things about myself and pass the award on to 10 others I feel are honest in their approach to blogging and food. So, here you go:

1. I am really tired of looking for a new job - I want to just find it already.

2. I love puttering around the house while Rick is at work until around noon. Then it gets old.

3. I'd love to find a gospel choir to sing with here in Manhattan, and I really miss my friends in 10 Percent.

4. I'm embarassed by the amount of kitchen and dining ware I sold and donated prior to my move here to Manhattan. As a result of this experience, I know I will live differently going forward no matter where we live.

5. I'd love to move back to Portsmouth, NH where I can enjoy family and friends more frequently, and go to the beach every weekend in the summer, and have a BBQ to cook my favorite Meat House burgundy wine steak tips.

6. I have no idea how people lived in NYC prior to the internet.

7. When I do eventually move from NYC, I will miss walking to the movies, walking to brunch, and walking to the gym.

8. I think after 10 years I will still have more than 50% to learn about NYC despite the fact I learn more and more every day.

9. I love biking, skiing and snowshoeing but I haven't done it in way too long.

10. My next sport to explore is boxing - time to make the Wii work everyday on that! Next year for Christmas I'm going to ask for ice skates (size 9 please!) :)
The blogs I have been enjoying most lately are:
Cheery Tomato Productions - my cousin is a mixed media artist who likes to explore life's questions
Rick LaFleur - My husband likes to record bits and bytes so he doesn't have to remember them
StrumErica: You Gonna Finish That? - Erica writes about NYC dining, cooking and living - her recent post about Gilt was VERY honest :)
Miss Menu - Miss Menu writes about dining experiences all over NYC - she always makes me want to go out!
Mid Town Lunch - LOVE LOVE LOVE this site - lots of good food at noon (or 1 or 2) in midtown Manhattan for less than $10. Also some happy hour posts too!
The Skint - Lots of amazing tips of stuff happening in the city, and how to get it for free or very cheaply. I really wanted to go to the premier of Daybreakers and to the premier party of Caprica!!
NYC Daily Deals - This is a new blog I've started following - I have a feeling I'll be finding some very cool things here :)
NYC Recession Diary - Fun stuff to do in NYC that doesn't cost an arm and 3 legs
NYC Foodie - Lots of reviews of restaurants and clues if you are a solo diner!
Brooklyn Flea - I saw this market on the Martha Stewart show (again - honestly hate mentioning her because she dissed Rachel Ray) and plan on making a visit this spring.

Please do visit these blogs and enjoy their content!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Suzee's White Chicken Chili

I had a half a pound of chicken to use, and I wanted to do something different with it. Football Sunday today with the Jets playing for the NFL playoffs, so chili sounded like a good call. Plus I had these whole canned tomatillos that I wanted to try :)

The end result was a nicely spiced dish that we both loved! Here's how I did it:

1 28 oz can of whole tomatillos, drained and crushed
1/2 lb cooked chicken meat shredded
1 14 oz can of light colored beans, drained and rinsed
1 7 oz can chopped green chilies
1 14 oz can chicken broth
1t cumin
1/2t smoked chipotle
1/2t garlic powder

Dump it all in a pot, simmer to allow flavors to marry, and serve!

I also made chocolate chip cookies today - by hand as my mixer and food processor are in storage. That was my workout today :) They tasted like they had extra love in them :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Suzee's Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Chicken

I had always heard about stuffed peppers that used green bell peppers. I really dislike cooked green bell peppers so this dish was never on my list of yum foods. While I was in TX, I had a stuffed poblano at they cutest little mexican place, and yum! These are deliciously warm, not hot, with great flavor! We stopped at a farmers market near South Padre and I got 4 beautiful poblanos for $1.30. I smuggled them in my checked luggage (that's what Rick would say - I don't think it's against the law or anything to bring fresh peppers from TX to NY) and nestled them in my fridge. And my fridge froze them. I turned it down so nothing else would get frozen.

I found fresh poblano peppers at Fresh Direct, and I was excited!  I was only able to get 3 from Fresh Direct, and they weren't as nice, and they were on sale for $2.99 a pound. This summer they were $5.99 at the farmers markets. It must be that Americans aren't buying enough of these delicious wonders yet. When I get a garden again, I will be growing these babies.

I did the blackening process over the flame on my gas stove. The peppers popped like popcorn ;) Once I got the black all over, I put them in a bowl and covered it with plastic wrap, and let it set for 30 minutes. The skins slipped right off. You know, this was the part I was dredding, but really, it all went painlessly :) I tried cutting the peppers a few different ways. The first was core it from the top, pulling out the seeds and membranes, and then slicing down each side resulting in 2 flat slices. The next one I did the coring approach, and then just sliced up 1 side, and then the last one I followed the same approach, but separated the top of the pepper you see with the seed pod inside. I think the second approach was the one I'll use going forward.

I heated up some refried beans with some water (1 can beans to 1/2 cup or so of water to loosen them up). I sprinkled some cheese shreds in the bottom of the pepper and I spooned 2 or 3 T of the beans. Then I layered in about 2 oz of shredded chicken breast, 1 or 2 tablespoons of quinoa, and then topped it all with 2 T of shredded cheese. At this point I popped it in the fridge so it'd be ready to go when Rick came home. If I was going to finish it now, I'd bake it for 20 minutes at 350. Since it had been in the fridge for a couple hours, I baked it for 40 minutes.

Delish - I can see using these delicious peppers more whenever I can find them :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Suzee's Chicken Pepperoni Bites

Oh my Patriots, you are missing Mr. Welker so much. You aren't supposed to show him that you miss him by how bad you are without him. You are supposed to play hard and do your best! What are you thinking???

After being entirely disgusted in the first quarter, I decided it was time to make some snacks. I wanted to make some buffalo chicken fingers, or buffalo chicken dip, but I was totally out of ranch dressing and bleu cheese dressing.

I had wanted to buy some pepperoni from fresh direct, ad all they had was sandwich pepperoni. I can't imagine making a sandwich with pepperoni - way too sharp for me. So, I ordered it so I could make pizza And actually is it milder than the small circles I usually use. Today I thought, hmmmm I could use those extra large slices to wrap some cheese around chicken! Better than watching the Pats embarass Wes. And I can still hear the game. Here's what I did:

1 lb boneless breast of chicken, cut in bite sized pieces
1/4 lb sandwich pepperoni (about)
1/4 lb provalone slices
14 oz can of pizza sauce (btw - I find pizza sauce to be lower in carbs than regular sauce sometimes)
1/2t McCormick's pizza seasonings from their grinder
1/4t garlic powder
tooth picks

Sautee the chicken breast to cook through
Warm the pizza sauce and add spices.
Wrap each piece of chicken in a 1/2 slice of provalone, and then a piece of pepperoni.
Secure with a tooth pick and place in a baking dish. Snuggle them all up next to each other.
Cover in warm pizza sauce.
Add a couple slices of provalone on top.
Bake at 350 for 10 or 15 minutes to make sure it's all nice and hot.

Enjoy, and be mindful of the toothpicks :) Maybe my Pats will find a way to win yet. Keep the faith!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Suzee's Parsley Veggie Dip

I am falling in love with parsley lately! I know! How could that be? I am totally a cilantro queen! But this fresh, herby, almost spicy sweet flavor has made me feel like spring isn't quite so far away.

I was going to make this Tangy Lemon Caper Dip today, but I was out of capers! It turned out fine as it turned on the creativity. I had cut quite a few crudite for the weekend, and a dip was a non-negotiable.

Here is what I used to make it:

16 oz Low Fat Sourcream (I really like Breakstone's)
3/4C minced fresh parsley
zest of 1 lemon (I use a microplane so the pieces are teeny tiny)
1/2C minced raw sweet onion
1/2t sea salt
1/4t fresh ground pepper

That's it! Now, if I read this recipe, the raw onion would scare me away, but the key is that this is *sweet* onion, and it really adds a nice dimention. Pro bowl is on Sunday - you could serve something remotely healthy with those buffalo wings :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Suzee's Chipotle Pumpkin Soup with Beef

I made a pot roast last night - one like my mom used to make. Put the meat and cold water in a dutch oven, bring to a simmer, pop into a 350 oven and leave it there for 2.5 hours or so, then add green beans (she used whole fresh beans and I used frozen french cut beans, and cook until the beans are done. The beef fat coats the beans in a way unlike anything else. Sprinkle them with salt and they are devine. Do try it :)

I wanted to do something different with the left overs. Good beef broth is tough to find and impossible to buy in my opinion. I thought about it a lot of the day today (oh the joys of unemployment), and came up with this absolutely delicious soup! I can't wait for Rick to come home and try it too ;)

About 6 cups of beef broth
a 28 oz can of pumpkin puree
2 or 3 cups of shredded beef (not long shreds - short enough to fit on your spoon)
a cup of green beans in bite sized pieces
1t ground smoked chipotle pepper
1/2t fresh ground black pepper
1/4t ground cayenne pepper
1t cumin
1/2t sea salt
1/2t cinnamon
4 packets of splenda (you know, what you use in your coffee)

Heat the broth, and add in the pumkin puree (you know better than to use pumkin pie filling - I trust you!), and mix/melt it together. Once the consistency is smooth, add all other ingredients, and heat everything through. Taste and enjoy the smokey, sweet, spicy goodness! Good amount of fiber too!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Dishes New Year

I just finished watching the Martha Stewart show, which I feel bad about because she trash talked Rachael Ray, but anyway Martha was talking about her trip to Thailand. She had Tadashi Ono as a guest who did Japanese Hot Pots. He was excellent at "handling" Martha - he make me chuckle :) Anyway, the Japanese Soups he made were very low in carbs. Or, leaving out the noodles would still leave a substantial and flavorful dish. So, I'm interested in trying some of these new soups. If you are too, his book is Japanese Hot Pots: Comforting One Pot Meals. Check it out :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome 2010 Happy New Year

Happy New Year to my friends and family! Thanks for following the chronicals of the LaFleurs! I'm looking forward to more blogging in 2010! May the new year bring you all health and prosperity!